Parliament and the First World War exhibition launches at Westminster

House of Commons 1914, oil on canvas by Leopold Braun, WOA 2949 Credit: Palace of Westminster Collection. www.parliament.uk/art | Parliament and the First World War | Westminster | Houses of Parliament
House of Commons 1914, oil on canvas by Leopold Braun, WOA 2949 Credit: Palace of Westminster Collection. www.parliament.uk/art

A new free exhibition at the Houses of Parliament examines the role of Parliament and the First World War

Parliament and the First World War is a free exhibition at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, which looks at the profound changes in Parliament and democracy during the war years.

Following the outbreak of war, increased state powers affected day-to-day life in Britain: the Home Front.

The Defence of the Realm Act gave the government power to enforce press censorship and introduce British Summer Time. The exhibition also looks at the issue of Home Rule in Ireland and The Representation of the People Act. The latter gave women over the age of 30 (who met a property qualification), the right to vote.

The exhibition includes a light projection of each of the names recorded on the First World War memorials in Parliament. Sadly 46 Parliamentarians and 26 Parliamentary staff were killed in service.

Rt.Hon. John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “Decisions that were made in Parliament during the war years reverberated across the country. This exhibition tells the little-known stories of how that impact was felt within Parliament itself.”

The exhibition, which opens today in Westminster Hall, runs until 28 September 2017. There’s no need to book – simply turn up at the visitors’ entrance on Cromwell Green and in you go.

You will need to go through airport-style security before you enter Westminster Hall, the oldest part of Westminster.

Once through, reflect on some of the historic events that have taken place here – including the trial of King Charles I. You should also admire the New Dawn light installation by artist Mary Branson. Located by the entrance to St Stephen’s Hall, the installation, which is controlled by the tide of the Thames, is inspired by the Suffrage movement.

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